So, our trip started sunday 21/6-15 at 8 am, I drove my way down to Malmö to meet up with my friend. We have the privilage to have an amazing A7 that Audi has sponsored us with. It’s been an awesome trip so far driving this car. We came to Copenhagen sunday evening and had a hard time finding a parking spot but after a while we found a place to park the car for the night.
I know that we have a long road a head of us and our first stop on this trip is London, so we’ve been racing to get there on time for Startup Grind, who is hosting Andrej Kiska tonight. Anyway, our second stop after Copenhagen was Amsterdam, and finally after a 7 hour long drive we arrived. There we were, beat and tired, with no place to stay, no WiFi and no idea where to park our car…again. We had to temporarily park along side the road, find our way to a McDonalds in order to get some WiFi to google close by hostels. We googled as best as we could and found a few places that looked promising. The first one was not far away, so we took the car and went for it. With the price of 80 € per night, (which was a bit pricy for us) we decided to check out the next place ahead. The price was right but we were to close to the center of Amsterdam, that means no parking spots at all at this time in the evening. We decided to move along. Finally we managed to find a place that was cheap, had parking spots, and where in an area that was calm and quiet. Only problem – they only accepted cash payment. So the next task was to find an ATM close by. A simple task you might think. The first two ATM’s we found was out of order and after walking around for nearly one hour we almost gave up. We eventually went back to the car in order to drive around instead of walking. I turned on my mobile data and quickly googled “ATM Amstedam” (the mobile data is expensive when you’re traveling Europe). I could see there was one ATM close by, but the streets of Amsterdam is not optimized for cars I can tell you. My eyes were sore, I was tired and hungry and all I wanted to do was to sleep. Finally we got our cash and we manage to check in and go to bed.
Next morning (tuesday), we woke up early, ate breakfast and got on the road instantly. We had 6 hours to drive. I calculated the time and we’ll just be able to pull in to the Startup Grind event that starts at 6 PM. We made one quick stop for food, and then we headed out on the road again, determined to make it to London by 6. We manage to cross the border into Belgium, and then into France. As we were getting closer to Calais where we’ll cross, we notice that the traffic is coming to a halt. All the exits towards the Eurotunnel was closed. “What the hell is happening?” I hear myself say. We took the first exit we found and tried to recalibrate the GPS not to go on the highway. We drove on the country roads of France, getting closer to Calais and the closer we got, we feelt that there was something wrong. We pulled into the parking spot where the ferry is supposed to leave from. We went straight to the ticket office and then we got the daunting news. The ferry is currently cancelled because one of the captains is blocking the whole harbour with one of the boats and have no idea when they will start moving again. Not only that, the Eurotunnel is also closed because something happened in the tunnel. A group of british people told us that there won’t be any more available tickets for two days! Nothing seemed to go our way today. So therefore we are stuck here in Calais with no possibility get to London any time soon.
Trying to make the best of the situation I quickly checked my phone if there’s any startups or co-working spaces close to Calais. To my surprise I find Tektos, a french co-working space and accelerator! It’s super close, so we decided to go there and check it out. Unfortunately the CEO wasn’t there, but we got to meet some other amazing people that was willing to show us around and talk to us about the french startup scene. We got to meet two of the startups sitting there, one of them was OneCub (their own website is here). They work with organizing your commercial and administrative data into one collective dashboard. It seems really cool! The other startup we met was the newly founded ML PlanEx, they work with supply chain management. We also got to see some of the protocols they were working on, and it seems like a great task to tackle. Supply chain management and logistics is what is needed in a society like today where everything is driven by data and time management is becoming more important than ever.
So right now, we’re sitting here in Calais, enjoying the sun by the sea and getting some food. We need all the energy we can get in order to get up early and grab the first ferry over to England where we’ll meet a lot of interesting people and visit both Impact hub aswell as Startup Grind.
The journey has only begun, but I can feel that this will be an amazing summer with a lot of new knowledge and a lot of new friends. Let’s stay in touch!